The Camera Obscura at Castelo São Jorge

By KRISTINA FAUST

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

I cross an ocean,
hail a car, find my
room, buy milk in a
box and chicory
coffee by mistake,
then, against advice,
steal two hours of
daylit sleep. When I
wake I go out to
find the castelo.

I walk skyward at
Escher angles through
constricting alleys.
Laundry stretches like
ligaments between
rusted balconies.
Cats disdain from sills.
Women in widows’
black wobble past, and
bells ring for reasons
other than plain time.

Here are the first stones
laid by the Moors. Here
is where a knight threw
his body between
closing gates, and his
fellow crusaders
poured in over him.
These old dancing trees
are cork. This is a
view of a bridge, a
cannon. Here is the
restroom, the gift shop,
peacocks. I am not
alone, not alone,
never alone with
my phone. We moderns
don’t sacrifice a
thing for each other,
especially not
our precious bodies.

But when we stand in
the dark, hip against
hip, and watch the sun
squint its eye and dream
a city before
us, we warm to our
old insignificance.

Lisbon, Portugal

Kristina Faust is a native New Jerseyan living in Grand Rapids, MI. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Georgia Review, Blackbird, Washington Square Review, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. She received the 2018 Disquiet Literary Prize for poetry.

Photos by author.

DoostiThe Camera Obscura at Castelo São Jorge

Related Posts

Animal_Languages

From The Study of Animal Languages

LINDSAY STERN
All my life I’ve been waiting,” says my father-in-law, through the stall door. We have stopped at a rest area along the interstate, halfway between our homes. I would meet him back in the car, if only he would stop waxing poetic. “Frank?” I face the mirror, smoothing the hair over my thinning spot. “I’ll be—” “First for school to end,” he interrupts.

A Lucky Man cover

LitFest Friday Reads: February 2019

STAFF PICKS
TC staff and interns are busily reading in anticipation of LitFest, so we're recommending new work by the National Book Award finalists, Pulitzer Prize winners, and NYT's bestsellers who will be visiting us in Amherst soon.

cover of where the dead sit talking with a bird drawn on it

From Where the Dead Sit Talking

BRANDON HOBSON
 I have been unhappy for many years now. I have seen in the faces of young people walking down the street a resemblance to people who died during my childhood. The period in my life of which I am about to tell involves a late night in the winter of 1989, when I was fifteen years old.